Curious and Curiouser

by The Bookshop Band

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    Artwork by Mikey Please, case designed by Ben Please, printed and cut by Opal, and insert printed by Richard Lawrence.

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about

The songs on "Curious and Curiouser" are inspired by contemporary and classic books with fantastical themes at heart, including Lewis Carroll’s "Alice in Wonderland", David Mitchell’s "The Bone Clocks" and Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night’s Dream".

Lewis Carroll's
ALICE IN WONDERLAND

Mark Hodder's
BURTON AND SWINBURNE IN THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF
SPRING HEELED JACK

William Shakespeare's
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

Mark Hodder's
BURTON AND SWINBURNE IN THE STRANGE
AFFAIR OF SPRING HEELED JACK

Mark Hodder's
BURTON AND SWINBURNE IN THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF
SPRING HEELED JACK

David Mitchell's
THE BONE CLOCKS

Stanley Donwood's
HUMOR / HOUSEHOLD WORMS

Sam Leith's
THE COINCIDENCE ENGINE


And also features lines from:

David Lodge,
Changing Places (1975)

The Garden of Evening Mists,
Tan Twan Eng (2012)

Bring up the bodies,
Hilary mantel (2012)

J.M. Barrie
Peter Pan (1911)

Raphael Sabatini
Scaramouche (1921)

Charles Dickens
A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

Samuel Beckett
Murphy (1938)

Iain M. Banks
The Crow Road (1992)

Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 (1953)

Jack Kerouac
Big Sur (1963)

Franz Kafka
The Metamorphosis (1915)

L. P. Hartley,
The Go-Between (1953)

Vladimir Nabokov
Lolita (1955)

Joseph Heller,
Catch-22 (1961)

Kurt Vonnegut
Slaughterhouse Five (1969)

credits

released May 27, 2016

All tracks written by Ben Please, Beth Porter and Poppy Pitt. Except the lyrics of track 1, which are the first lines to many great books.

Produced by The Bookshop Band, except track 10 which was recorded, produced and mixed by Richard Evans at The Labour Exchange. Otherwise all recorded and mixed by Ben Please.

Mastered by Marco Migliari.

Tracks 1, 4, 6 & 7 were recorded at home, with marvellous recording engineering by James King on track 4. Tracks 2, 3, 5, 8 & 9 were recorded at Realworld Studios with set up assistance from Marco Migliari. Extra recording at Christchurch (Rode, UK), The Open Book (Wigtown), Jool’s house, Pete’s house, Emma’s house, mum’s house, Stanley Donwood’s studio, St Bride Foundation (London), The Cross Guns (Bradford-on-Avon) on New Year’s Eve (track 3) and The Royal Oak (Bath).

All tracks written by Beth Porter, Ben Please and Poppy Pitt, except track 8 by Beth Porter, Ben Please and lyrics by David Lodge, Tan Twan Eng, Hilary Mantel, J.M. Barrie, Raphael Sabatini, Charles Dickens, Samuel Beckett, Iain M. Banks, Ray Bradbury, Jack Kerouac, Franz Kafka, L.P. Hartley, Vladimir Nabokov, Joseph Heller & Kurt Vonnegut, and lyrics of track 3 taken from Act 1 Scene 1 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. The readings in the bonus tracks 11 and 12 are used by kind permission of the authors.

Produced, mixed and recorded by Ben Please, The Bookshop Band, except track 10 which was recorded, produced and mixed by Richard Evans at The Labour Exchange. String arrangements by Beth Porter and Ben Please.
Mastered by Marco Migliari
Artwork: Mikey Yes Please
www.mikeyplease.co.uk

Inside cover photos: Ben Please & John Ruddock, in Scotland.
Case design & layout: Ben Please
Cases printed and cut by Opal Print, inserts by Richard Lawrence, disks by Key Production.

Tracks 1, 4, 6 & 7 were recorded at home, with marvellous recording engineering by James King on track 4. Tracks 2, 3, 5, 8 & 9 were recorded at Realworld Studios with set up assistance from Marco Migliari. Extra recording at Christchurch (Rode, UK), The Open Book (Wigtown), Jool’s house, Pete’s house, Emma’s house, mum’s house, Stanley Donwood’s studio, St Bride Foundation (London), The Cross Guns (Bradford-on-Avon) on New Year’s Eve (track 3) and The Royal Oak (Bath).

Those who added huge value to our recording and production process were Marco Migliari, Fiona O’Shaughnessy and Stanley Donwood, all the musicians who played with us, Brauner microphones and Louis Austin, Microtech Gefell GmbH microphones and Sound Link Pro Audio, Leigh Haggerwood, James King, Richard Evans, Will Cookson, Steve Belgrave, Mike Hillier, Stuart Bruce, Chris Hughes, Universal Audio, UA Digital and Source Distribution, Grace Designs, Realworld Studios, The Wigtown Book Festival, Nigel and Jackie, Owen Benson, Anna Botterell and Andrew Hooker Violins, Keith Lunt and co at Opal and Richard Lawrence, Vivi Tobies & Paul Walton. Big thank you to Caroline Waterlow and Ashley Harrow.

Thank you to all our Patreon supporters, past and present, including James Patterson and Alan Squire Publishing, and our song sponsors (see tracks for details). And a huge thank you to the Mikey Yes Please for creating the artwork for this album.

Thank you to Nic and Juliette Bottomley and ALL the staff at Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath for curating our reading. To all the curious and curiouser places we are lucky enough to play in, the people who we meet, and of course to all the fantastic authors that have inspired us to write these songs, thank you all so much.

THE BOOKSHOP BAND

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The Bookshop Band Bath, UK

The Bookshop Band write songs inspired by books and play them in bookshops. They started as a collaboration between a group of musicians in Bath and their local independent bookshop, Mr B's Emporium. Now they are about to go on tour, sponsored by Vintage Books and Independent Booksellers Week, around other bookshops and lit fests. Catch them if you can. Details at www.thebookshopband.co.uk ... more

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Track Name: Curious and Curiouser
Follow to a hole
Falling for a while
Passing vertically

One side makes you grow
One side makes you small
What size should one be?

Curious and curiouser
Things aren’t what they seem
Queer old smoking caterpillar
What does all this mean?

Asking questions why
No sense did she find
Alice wanders on

Curious and curiouser
Things aren’t what they seem
Weeping turtle sleepy mouse
It must be time for tea

Curious and curiouser
Things aren’t what they seem
The Queen of Hearts is furious
This life is but a dream

Off with all their heads
Painting flowers red
There’ll be no one left

Curious and curiouser
Things aren’t what they seem
The Queen of Hearts is furious
This life is but a dream x2

Curious and curiouser
Things aren’t what they seem
The Queen of Hearts is furious
Track Name: Watch your back
Flight Fight sharp claws spike, through
Bright eyes cold light shine, too

Dark lane, men’s face take shape,
Dark matter decends on you,
Dark lane, men’s face take shape,
Dark matter decends on you,

You’d better
Watch your back
You’d better
Watch your back

Swords clash red black white skin and fur
Slice pounce bite grip rip fists hit purr

The fight lights a fire in me
Like night it grows steadily
You think I’m done but soon you’ll see
The fight lights a fire in me

The fight lights a fire in me
Throw what you’ve got, I’m ready
You and your wretched fantasies
The fight lights a fire in me

You’d better
Watch your back
You’d better
Watch your back

Everyone is on the hunt
Watch your back
Everyone is on the hunt
Watch your back
Track Name: O Happy Fair!
Her: God speed fair Helena, wither away?
Hel: Call you me fair? that fair again unsay.
Demetrius loves your fair: O happy fair!

Your eyes are lode-stars; and your tongue's sweet air
More tuneable than lark to shepherd's ear,

When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.
Sickness is catching: O, were favour so,
Yours would I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go;

My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye,
My tongue should catch your tongue's sweet melody.
Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated,
The rest I'd give to be, to you translated.
O, teach me how you look, and with what art
You sway the motion of Demetrius' heart.

Her: I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.
Hel: O that your frowns would teach my smiles such skill!

Her: I give him curses, yet he gives me love.
Hel: O that my prayers could such affection move!

Her: The more I hate, the more he follows me.
Hel: The more I love, the more he hateth me.

Her: His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.
Hel: None, but your beauty: would that fault were mine!

Her: Take comfort: he no more shall see my face;
Lysander and myself will fly this place.
Track Name: Edward Oxford and the ballad of Spring Heeled Jack
Edward was a man of scientific acclaim
But he was tainted by past of his family name
He wanted a clean slate with his baby soon to be
So he invented, a time machine
As his wife calls to him for tea
He says I’m off to change history
But I’ll be back in a moment or two…..

But who could?
He could
Edward
Oxford

He leapt through time and landed in old London town
Bonnets and top hats, on the people milling round,
They were they to see the queen, and he was there to save his name
But distracted by a future self and slow to intervene.
As he tried to stop his man
The gun slipped in their hands
And they shot Queen Victoria

But who could?
They could
The Edward
Oxfords

In the scuffle his ancestor was impaled upon the fence
Edward actions caused, a new chain of events
Edward looks around, and sees his past is all fucked up
There’s every chance he wont exist and wont be going back
He’s going to restore
History as it was before
No mater, what is takes

But who could?
He would
Edward
Oxford

As he Sprung around in time trying to fix what he has done
But he ends up making thing much worse, and frightening everyone
He tried to stop himself, but only got in the way
It didn’t matter who he hurt, and caused havoc in his wake
And history has changed
For the sake of a name
Which doesn’t exist any more

But who would?
He would
Edward
Oxford

His wife is stuck in time, somewhere waiting with his tea
Its amazing what will make a man commit atrocities
He thought it was a simple task and he was coming back
But Edward Oxford turned into Spring Heeled Jack
A lesson for us all
Don’t time travel at all
But if you do, then don’t kill anyone

But who would?
He would
Edward
Oxford
Track Name: Smog over London
Sail over Battersea in your velocipeade
Show off your skills in the air
Don't let Technologists catch you and saw of bits
What are they building in there?
It's such a joy to be in my velocipeade
Flying as high as a bird

Smog over London
Looks jolly splendid I've heard
Smog over London
Looks jolly splendid I've heard

London’s not meant to be
The way it turned out to be
God didn’t save the Queen-o
Talking dogs on the streets,
Bloody parakeets,
Exploding wolves, don't you know
Who'd have thought Nightingale
Would side with all those males
Making a hash of us all

Smog over London
Looks jolly splendid I've heard
Smog over London
Looks jolly splendid I've heard
Track Name: The Other Side
I can subhear you speaking with your mind
So many pathways waiting for a sign
How can I hear you speaking with your mind?
Redact a memory take it from your life

Time you were here
Your time is near
Your time is long
My timing’s wrong

A script is written deep within your soul
If you can open up there is a hole
Receive the better, brighter memories
Dark moods can spiral and they can deceive

Instrumental

He’s on his way
Ways they can change
Changing your ways
Wait for a change

Forget what you learn
Scared you might burn
Ripped from one life
A fight to survive.

Taken away to the other side
To another life with the anchorites
Taken away to the other side
From the one he loved for just one night

The fickle future is a grey grim glow
Not enough to eat for the youth
No one to follow, no great hope
Write the unified truth.

Take them away to the other side
To another life where they can survive
Take them away to the other side
So the ones I love can stay alive.

I want to hear you speaking with your mind
So many pathways waiting for a sign
How can I hear you speaking with your mind?
Redact a memory now this is my life.
Track Name: Oberon
A silly air is in tonight
A fairy’s trick, a trick of light
Ill fated love, not granted true
A father’s heartless matching threw

For hearts deep into the night
Where woodland magic will take flight
And turn the hearts and turn the heads
And turn the actors from their friend’ s
Unfortunate plight

And who to blame this mess upon?
Our own dear Puck and Oberon
Our own dear Puck and Oberon
Oberon
Oberon…..

How much can change with just a slight
Twist of day And turn of light
With the moon such strange things can creep
And when we wake should we believe our sleep?
Darkness casts such dreams and tricks
Confusion it does come so quick
And with our dreams come strange truths
And unbeknown our hearts moved on
And unbeknown our hearts moved on
Hearts Moved on
Oberon
Oberon

He turned their hearts and turned their heads
And turned the actors from their friend x3

And who to blame this mess upon
Oberon x2
Oberon
Oberon

In our minds, we might forget
But the body, cannot un-tell
Deep inside the dream is true
And marks us with it’s tale

And who to blame this mess upon
Oberon
Track Name: Once Upon A Time
High, high above, the North Pole
On a mountain, above the clouds, once lived a man
His children, are falling, from the sky

All children, except one, grow up
He was born, with a gift, of laughter
And a sense that the world was mad.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times
Writing a song about first lines
It was the age of wisdom, of foolishness
It was the Season of light, season of dark
Drawing the reader in right from the start
It was the spring of hope, the Winter of despair

The sun shone, having no, alternative
It was the day, my grandmother, exploded
It was a pleasure to burn

The church is blowing a sad windblown ‘Kathleen’
On the bells in the skid row slums as I wake up all woebegone and goopy
Transformed into a monstrous vermin

It was the season of light, the season of dark
Inspiration comes from The Past
is a foreign country; they do things differently there.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times
Light of my life, fire of my loins
It was love at first sight, love at first sight

All this happened, more or less, more or less
Track Name: Keep your head down
Keep your head down
Let it end for hours

Throw sand into the air
To fall as bricks, but you’re
Not a vessel of consequence
The wind is

Keep your head down
Let it spin for hours

Sell your house
And buy gold
At least you’ll have something
You can control

The sand that we salvage
Swirls like dust
That chaos encourages
So we just

Keep our heads down
Let it end for hours
Keep our heads down
Let it end for hours
Track Name: Knock knocking
I want to laugh but I don’t know how to laugh
I’m trying hard but I’m caught up in the past
Knock knocking
Knock knocking
I’d open the door to you

I’ve seen it all before and I know what I should do
It’s not my imagination, I hear
Knock knocking
Knock knocking
I’d open the door to you

Can’t think what it would be
To think about us see
No expectations of you
Or anything at all

Knock knocking
Knock knocking
I’d open the door to you

My actions are loud, much louder than my thoughts
My mind won’t tell me that I could go to court
I hear knock knocking
Knock knocking
I’d open the door to you

They say it’s all to do with chance, anticipation, circumstance
I hear knock knocking
Knock knocking
I’d open the door to you

Clarinet

I learnt how to cry a long long time ago
It’s part of me to let the tears flow